Monday, August 12, 2013

Schizophrenic Praise

Monday August 12, 2013

(this devotion is part two – continued from Psalm 88)
I like consistency; I like to know what’s planned, and I like to see things unfold exactly as planned.  Call it O.C.D. (obsessive-compulsive disorder)…but I don’t like surprises.  It was painful to read Psalm 88 on Friday, with its darkness, despair and questioning.  And now, here I am on Monday (my normal “down” time), reading the unabashed gushing of unwavering faith and praise in Psalm 89.  If you lay aside the circumstances of these two psalms, the change from valley to mountaintop can make one dizzy!  What a ride!
As “even” as I like things and people to be in my life, I am often moody and affected by uneven circumstances and events.  Life is not charted with a straight edge; it can be, and often is, messy. 
I’ve heard all kinds of advice…
There are “Psalm 88 folk” who are deep thinkers…go ahead, question God, they say; Brood if you must; God will answer when he’s ready.  It’s a dark way.
“Psalm 89 folk” are more positive….they say (with a smile) when you’re bummed, just lift your hands and praise!  God is so good, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are!
Because I’m more of a brooder, I want to smack Psalm 89 folk upside their happy countenance (in a loving, Christian way, of course!).

What to do?

As much as I hate to admit it, I always feel better when I praise God in a Psalm 89 burst of praise.  The problem is the rarefied atmosphere of the mountaintop fades away, and I’m left wondering if God heard anything.
When I stay chained to Psalm 88, with its questioning, blood-letting agony of walking God through why His plan doesn’t seem to be working (and often winding-up in the woodshed for my trouble), I am also left wondering if thinking this deeply is worthwhile.
So….maybe this is the reason why God had these Psalms put next to each other.  We are supposed to do the gut-wrenching work of Psalm 88…questioning and agonizing with God like Job.  But we’re also meant to frame it all with the praise of Psalm 89!  It’s a two-pronged fork…Probing and Praising!
I’ve found this to be so helpful.  Whether you’re a brooder or one of those O.C.D. praise people that annoy us quiet thinkers, get out of your rut!  Get in there and wrestle with God like Jacob at the River JabbokGenesis 32, but then come out praising Him like a charismatic at a camp meeting!  It’s not schizophrenic – it’s living life close to the vine!

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